Who pays my fees when I have to put in extra time because a third-party vendor made a mistake?
A client recently implemented a Google Adwords feature that required adding some specific code in a couple of places on his site. The code basically changes the phone number displayed on his site to a dynamically generated Google number if someone clicks through from an ad. So it tracks conversions where someone actually called after seeing the ad.
My client’s Google account rep sent him an email with explicit instructions, which he forwarded to me. I did exactly what he specified, it took just a few minutes.
It did not work, and I put in a fair amount of time testing, debugging, looking at the source code, trying to see where I could have possibly made a mistake with his explicit instructions. Several emails and calls with the client, who was very pissed off at me because he thought I ought to be able to do such a simple task. Much time beating my head against the wall…
Two calls to Google tech support, neither of which was able to resolve it. Three subsequent calls (2 with account manager, 1 with tech support). Finally was told by the tech guy that I had been given incorrect instructions, and that there was a missing line of code. I added it per his instructions, and voila! Everything is working.
Now the dilemma is… I would love to bill my client for the time I WASTED on trying to debug something that was not my fault and I could never fix without Google telling me the correct answer. And it’s not just the time, it’s that it derailed me from other tasks that were promised to clients that day.
In the end, I suggested to the account rep that he apply a credit to my client’s Adwords account, enough to cover paying me for at least part of the time. After all, it was their mistake. I doubted he would come through, but it was worth asking.
And today I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email saying they would give him a credit to cover my time. So I’m happy and my client is happy!